COMMON ASBESTOS FACTS
Asbestos is a naturally-occurring fibrous silicate mineral. It was considered a versatile product, because it is able to withstand heat, erosion and decay and has fire and water resistant properties.
It becomes a health risk when asbestos fibres are released into the air and breathed in. Asbestos building materials is described as either “non-friable” or “friable“.
Non-Friable asbestos is any material (other than friable asbestos) that contains asbestos. Non- friable asbestos cannot be crumbled, pulverised or reduced to a powder by hand pressure when dry.
Common uses for non-friable asbestos in buildings include: flat (fibro), corrugated or compressed asbestos cement sheets; water, drainage and flue pipes; and floor tiles.
If fire, hail, or direct activities such as water blasting and drilling damages bonded asbestos, it may become friable asbestos material
Friable asbestos material is any material that contains asbestos and is in the form of a powder or can be crumbled, pulverised or reduced to powder by hand pressure when dry.
Friable asbestos was not commonly used in the home; it was mainly used in industrial applications such as pipe lagging, sprayed limpet and asbestos cloth and rope.
Friable asbestos can only be removed by a licenced asbestos removalist with a friable asbestos licence.
ASBESTOS RELATED DANGERS
- There is no safe level of exposure to asbestos fibres!
- If asbestos is disturbed it can release dangerous fine particles of dust containing asbestos fibres
- Breathing in dust containing asbestos fibres can cause asbestosis, lung cancer and mesothelioma
- Mesothelioma is a cancer which most often occurs in the lining of the lung. There is no cure
- The rates of malignant mesothelioma (an incurable cancer) are expected to rise from 2012 to 2020
- The risk of contracting asbestos related diseases increases with the number of fibres inhaled and the length of time that you inhaled asbestos fibres (number of years exposed)
- The risk of lung cancer from inhaling asbestos fibres is greatly increased if you smoke
- Symptoms of asbestos dust related diseases do not usually appear until about 20 to 30 years after the first exposure to asbestos
- You must observe safety precautions when removing or working with asbestos, otherwise you risk exposing yourself and your family to long-term health risks
- The average time between exposure and developing mesothelioma is about 45 years